Friday, June 3, 2011


Few years ago, when I was working in Dharamsala office, we received an instruction from the higher authority to use Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) instead of Tibetan Government in Exile in all the official communications, though we were generally more accustomed in using the latter. Lately after listening to Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche's clarification on the Amendment of the Charter, I tried to investigate a little and found out that all the official publications had written Central Tibetan Administration (Secretariat) as the publisher, dated back to 1980s. It is quite a fascinating.

Like all my compatriots, we held high hope and respects to the our exile government, which stands as a lifeline of all the Tibetan people for more than 5 decades, despite zero recognition from other governments. I do not care about how other countries perceive us, as I believe every country longs to work for their own selfish agendas, which might not include supporting Tibet issues.

Even though many countries domestic and foreign policy are directly or indirectly linked with Tibet, the status quo shows their unwillingness to uphold Tibet and confront China. It is presumably due to two reasons, which are depended on push and pull factors. Push factors are threat perceptions and coercive actions of China that all other countries fear; and pull factor deals with diplomatic and economic integration, which enhance cooperations with China.

While observing our situation, the Chinese delegation during the initial talk, which was restarted in 2002, raised an objection of using Tibetan Government in Exile. Tibetan top brass officials, soon after decided to move along with the Chinese complaints and succeeded in reintroducing the name 'Central Tibetan Administration' rather than commonly used 'Tibetan Government in Exile'.

Though, we complied with the Chinese government, but the Chinese leaders still show unwillingness to resolve the Tibet problem. I suspect, China might have been worried that the Tibetan Government in Exile is getting popular worldwide, with the establishment of different missions around the globe, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's increasing foreign tours over the years, and some historic events, which nearly legitimize the worldwide recognition of Tibetan Government in Exile as the legitimate Government for the Tibetan people. Even India, during the prime ministership of Lal Bahadur Shastri, nearly recognized the Tibetan Government in Exile as the legitimate government, but unfortunately, his words and visions disappeared along with his mysterious death in Tashkent. I plainly suspect Chinese hand in his murder. Purely a conspiracy.

China fears that if the Central Tibetan Administration remains, it will be a huge challenge for the Chinese Government to sustain their rule over Tibet. Even they strongly believe that Tibet issue will become a thorn in their claim for super power. So, in order stand above this problematic issue, China aimed to crush the organizational structure of the emigre government. They expect that if the Central Tibetan Administration dissolves, the issue of Tibet will ultimately solve in their favor.

China knew that only hundred Thousand Tibetans are living outside Tibet spreading over more than 30 countries. They consider that this transnational government will boiled up with lots of public resentments over the issues of changing the name. But, Tibetans are wise enough to know how China plays their trick. In spite of the name change, the trust and the honor bestowed upon by the Tibetan people to the Central Tibetan Administration remained stronger than ever. Even now, China claims that they are not willing to talk with the so called 'terrorist' Prime Minister of Central Tibetan Administration while responding to Dr. Lobsang Sangay's talk anywhere, anytime. China is doomed with their unrealistic approach on Tibet and China still plays with their waiting game. The mere excuse of China playing the waiting game-demise of His Holiness the Dalai Lama-will not succeed. They must understand that Tibetans are ever more serious about Tibet issues and will remain so, no matter what.

It is a matter of fact that Central Tibetan Administration was established just 10 years after the Chinese Communist regime acceded to power. It is as old as Chinese Communist Government and if the China can do marvels with their politics internationally, so does the Central Tibetan Administration.

Since 1959, Central Tibetan Administration has seen much changes and the democratic reforms came one after another. Recently, Tibetans had crossed yet another milestone in their democracy by accepting the amendment to the Charter of Tibetans in Exile. The political leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been transferred to the Kalon Tripa. The transition went smoothly with the convention of 2nd Tibetan National Meeting in Dharamsala, followed by the special parliament session. The new Kalon Tripa will take the political responsibility and it became a landmark in the history of Tibetans in Exile.

Though the English name for Central Tibetan Administration was reinforced earlier, The Tibetan name 'Tsenjol Bod Shung' remained functional till recently. The draft amendment of the Charter carried the name 'Tsenjol Bodmei Drigtsug' but was later rectified as 'U Bodmei Drigtsug' which literally means 'Central Tibetan Administration'.

Initially, I was little worried when the draft name came into scene recently. Prior to the Tibetan National meeting, a meeting was held in Delhi among the local leaders to pull in our suggestions, I raised my concern over 'Tsenjol Bodmei Drigsug' just like many concerned Tibetans. But unlike others, my concern was that the 'Tsenjol Bodmei Drigsug' would possibly remain concentrated only to the Tibetans in exile, which would significantly distant our bond with our brothers and sisters in Tibet. After the Dharamsala meeting of more than 400 participants from 30 different countries, and later the the special Parliament session, the Tibetan name was formulated and renamed as 'U Bodmei Drigtsug', which I felt more comfortable with. It is somewhat equivalent or a near perfect translation of Central Tibetan Administration.

Like Chinese, Tibetans are also choosy about names and draw significant meanings. Most of the time, names need to be auspicious. We too are quite superstitious in our own tradition, which sometimes is good as it generate positive aura. Some people in a public forum raised concerns over the issue of renaming the 'Tsenjol Bod Shung'. I too was earlier concerned about it, but realized that name is just for the sake of representation. We, Tibetans need to show total loyalty to Central Tibetan Administration and be a part of it in this critical moment.

Since U Bodmei Drigtsug is based in India, Tibetans in India have a multitude of responsibility and one among them is to abide by the rule of law. We, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama describes India as our Teacher (Guru), it is our responsibility of being their devoted student (Chela) not to make any embarrassment to our host and guru, India.

Recently, one of the eminent Indian politician and a writer Dr. Subramanian Swamy, president of Janata Party expressed in his statement on 31 March 2011, "permitting Tibetans to set up an emigre Government in exile in India is against International law....we have to abide by it till we disown it." So, while considering such concerns, Tibetan leaders opted to choose a name other than exile government in any forms. Such name will serve Tibet in a long run, taking into consideration of the democratic changes in our system.

We must also understand that so many changes happened all of a sudden in 2011, which might take some time for the common people to understand and accept the changes. After His Holiness' declaration of devolving political leadership on 14 March 2011, power has been delegated to the three pillars of Central Tibetan Administration. With our new Kalon Tripa, and a new amendment with an excess baggage to the Kalon Tripa, we have to show our solidarity and strength by following the directions of the Central Tibetan Administration. In this critical stage of democratic transition, unity is must and all the emigre Tibetans must take responsibility to contribute positively for the cause of Tibet. After all, we still remain the ultimate voice of our brothers and sisters in Tibet, who are suffering under the Chinese communist Regime. We, rather should not have a slightest doubt that we are battling the losing game and changing the name of 'Tsenjol bod Shung' to 'U Bodmei Drigtsug' must not be considered as a sign of weakness, but rather a step forward in reaching our goal of seeking freedom and justice.

With our own experience of democratic reforms in exile over the decades, I believe, we will certainly manage the latest change. We shall not get worried, but rather make proper use of the new name in our struggle. If I am not wrong, many Tibetans considered Driktsug as some institution or organization, which they felt that it would subside the value of our struggle. But, Driktsug to my understanding means an administration, which broadly signifies 'Central Tibetan Administration'. Strangely, when the Tibetan Government in Exile used Central Tibetan Administration, all remained silent. It seems, now we are discussing and debating too much on the mere Tibetan translation of Central Tibetan Administration.

On 02 June 2011, Kalon Tripa, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche delivered a detailed clarification on the Amendment of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile to the Tibetan Parliament members during the 15th Parliament session in Dharamshala. He explicitly mentioned that the recent name change was not a resultant of compulsions from China, India and Tibetans. But, the change is necessary for the wellbeing of Tibetans in the future. It is rather a preventive measures to sustain the struggle in the future.

Change is inevitable and deemed necessity for the long run sustenance of Tibetan movement in exile. The acceptance of such change for the better future will ensure greater leverage in our side. With such change, we shall recognize it as a strength of our democracy and will experience maturity. China will ultimately realize that Tibetans in exile will remain focus on continuing the struggle in more vibrant manners and must act positively in dealing with the Central Tibetan Administration. As for U Bodmei Drigtsuk, It is just a name sake, as other things remain same.

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